A Doer’s Story…

An initial thought…

Have you ever come across a quote that you absolutely love—but that comes from someone you’ve never heard of? Well, I just have—

Initially, I had no idea who Sarah Ban Breathnach was. It turns out she wrote a self-help book that was featured eleven times on Oprah Winfrey’s show.  The book sold seven million copies and apparently made her a lot of money, which she then lost—spectacularly. After writing another book about that adventure, it seems she’s now doing much better…

In case you’re thinking this story is about Sarah, it isn’t. No, this is a story about a dreamer who does…

About this story…

It was my cousin, Steve Linde, who told me this story. At the time, Steve was the Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Post. As he finished telling me his story, I smiled. I was searching for true stories that offered gifts that could help people realize their dreams. And his story was exactly that kind of story. And that’s why I smiled!

In repeating the story, I can only hope I can now do it justice…

Before I share Steve’s story, I thought you might perhaps want to know just a little about him…

About Steve and his job…

As I’ve mentioned, Steve and I are cousins. His father was my mother’s brother. He also happened to have been a captivating storyteller who would light up any room he ever entered. I can remember being spellbound as I heard him weave his storytelling magic. I’m proud to say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Steve is perhaps an even better storyteller than his dad.

As important to me perhaps is that Steve is also the very essence of a “gentleman” —

shaw

Steve has always put more into the world than he has ever taken out… And that’s why he’s a gentleman…

gentleman

Oh, did I mention he never plays the bagpipes?

Now, a quick word about what he does…

At the time of Steve’s story, he was the Editor-In-Chief of The Jerusalem Post. His paper is the best-known English-language newspaper in Israel. It is regarded as one of the leading and most credible news sources in Israel. It has a daily circulation of 50,000 and an online presence with 5 million unique visitors a month.

That’s all you need to know about him right now…  🙂

steve linde
Steve Linde, Editor-in-Chief, The Jerusalem Post

Steve’s story…

His story began with a simple question he asked me a while back…

“Did I ever tell you the story about Hannah Wade?” he asked me .

When I said he hadn’t, he launched into the story…

“Hannah’s been calling me on my private line almost every day for a good while now. She calls either to complain about something in the paper or to point out some mistake in the latest edition.

To be brutally honest, I’m ashamed to say that occasionally her constant calls really irritated me. This was particularly so when I was working against constant deadlines. I’ve always tried my very best to remain polite, but I gotta admit this wasn’t always easy!”

He continued…

“In fairness, she often praised us in her calls. She did seem to take delight, though, in pointing out any mistakes she could find—no matter how tiny. She’d tell me, for example, that, on page 4, there was a mistake in the headline. Or that there was a typo in the second paragraph in column 3 on page 8… All I can say with any certainty is that she read every word of every page of every edition of The Post.. All I can say with any certainty is that she read every word of every page of every edition of The Post…

Steve paused, perhaps for dramatic effect…

“So, a few weeks ago, my phone rings. Again, it’s Hannah. This time, though, I hear pure panic in her voice.

‘Whassup, Hannah?’ I ask…

‘Something terrible!’ she replies with some doom and gloom…

‘What’s happened. Hannah?’ I ask her…

‘I just don’t know what to do,’ she says breathlessly.

My heart sank expecting the worst…

‘My paper didn’t arrive this morning.’

I thought I detected a sad and heavy sigh. Astonished, I marveled at how calm I remained…

‘Don’t worry, Hannah’ I tell her reassuringly. ‘I’ll fix this.’

I asked her where she lived. I intended to make a call downstairs to get a paper delivered to her. When she told me, though, I noticed it was just a few blocks away. I acted on a whim. I picked a paper and decided I’d deliver it to her myself. I now wanted to meet her.

It didn’t take me long to get there. As I entered the building, I noticed it was a hospice. Certainly, it smelled like a hospice. When I asked an orderly where I could find Hannah, he directed me to a long corridor. I was told she was in the last room on the right.

As I made my way down that corridor, a smell of disinfectant was wafting from everywhere. Finally, when I reached the last room on the right, I knocked. I heard a voice allowing me to enter.

The room was small. There was a single bed on which Hannah lay in a night gown. She was tiny . She didn’t look at all well. Next to the bed was a single table on which there was a lamp and a stack of Jerusalem Posts.

I introduced myself. As I gave her the paper, she broke into a broad and happy grin. I said how happy I was finally to meet her.

She seemed overwhelmed. She explained that her whole life now consisted of reading the paper every day. She said she couldn’t imagine her life without the paper. And when the paper hadn’t arrived that day, she said she felt a sense of panic overwhelm her.

She thanked me so profusely for the paper, I felt a little uncomfortable.She said she couldn’t begin to thank me for the paper—and for taking her calls. “

Steve paused again before offering this thought—

You know, Michael, she still calls me. The conversations really haven’t changed. The difference is that I now I know the person who’s calling. And it’s really amazing the difference that makes… 

Selfishly, I feel a better person for having met her and having helped her just a little. Would I now ever lose patience with her again? No, not ever!”

Hannah Wade
Hannah Wade

A truly profound gift…

There are a few gifts in Steve’s story. For me, though, the gift it offered seemed to connect directly to our ability to realize our dreams. What it made me wonder was this—

Just how well do we REALLY know the people with whom we interact every day?

And wouldn’t we be MUCH better if only we took the trouble to know these folks?

And wouldn’t we be so much happier if we gave people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind?

our days are happier